It is a well known fact that the first hour, known as the golden hour, and the first couple of minutes, known as platinum minutes, after an injury or illness of critical nature, are vital for providing necessary medical intervention and can be highly crucial in saving a life or a limb
Before the start of the era of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in India, ambulances were merely white painted transport vehicles with a sign of red cross and very few healthcare facilities had well equipped medical ambulances. With the start of GVK EMRI 108 Services in India in the year 2005, a whole new chapter of EMS with well equipped mbulances and global standard pre-hospital care had evolved and that journey is still continuing.
After the miraculous work of 108 in 12 states and 2 union territories, most of the people now understand that mbulances are not merely transport vehicles. s on today, we have saved more than 4.30 lac lives in critical cases and the maternal and infant mortality rates have been dropped considerably in the states where we are operating.
There are other avenues where an ambulance can play a major role like a specially designed 4X4 wheel drive difficult terrain ambulances for hilly areas, boat ambulances for areas predominantly having water fronts, air ambulances for reaching areas inaccessible by road and small four or two wheeler first responder vehicles where reaching the location of emergency is still a challenge due to inaccessibility and traffic delay. Ambulance for a special purpose like neonatal ambulance or a high-tech ICU on wheels with specially trained staff can be very helpful. mbulance can be converted to a Mobile Medical Unit to bring the primary healthcare facilities at the doorsteps of the citizens especially in rural areas. Ambulance can also be converted in to a Disaster Response Vehicle or Hazmat Vehicle and on this front much work is yet to be done.
All 108 ambulances are equipped with all the necessary medical equipments and extrication tools and there are continuous efforts with a focus on further improvement and advancement in this front. All our ambulances will be equipped with Automatic Vehicle Location Tracking System (AVLTS) very soon. This equipment has various pplications both in non-medical and medical like vehicle location on GIS maps and navigation by GPS, bio-attendance of EMS staff, two-way video conferences between the paramedic and hospital/doctor, transmitting patient/victims vital easurements and ECG recordings to hospital/doctor, etc. We can also exactly map all the important locations like hospitals, police stations, fire stations, disaster management centers, etc. with this and can prepare Geo Maps later on which can be very useful in responding to disasters of mass scale. Electronic version of Pre-hospital Care Record (PCR) is under evelopment right now where the paramedic can enter the details/data about the case in a hand held touch pad and transmit it electronically to the center. Automatic CPR machine, rapid fluid infusion machine, neonatal transport, incubator, among others are the new avenues to be explored in the future. Government of India has also taken an initiative to chart out and implement a National Ambulance Code and in the near future all the ambulances operating in the country have to comply with the standards laid out in it.